When it’s not just morning sickness


Kate Middleton and Amy Schumer pregnancy put hyperemesis gravidarum into the headlines. But what is this condition all about?

Photo: FameFlynetUK/FameFlynet

Photo: FameFlynetUK/FameFlynet

Women expect to throw up during the first months of pregnancy; morning sickness is a rite of passage for many expecting mothers. But no one expects this typical pregnancy symptom to morph into a monster that can threaten the health—and sometimes the lives—of a mom and baby.

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is an extreme form of morning sickness, defined by the Hyperemesis Education and Research Foundation as “unrelenting, excessive pregnancy-related nausea and/or vomiting that prevents adequate intake of food and fluids.” You may have learned about the condition when it landed Kate Middleton in the hospital while she was pregnant, or when Amy Schumer went public with her HG. Affecting about one to three percent of women, HG can lead to weight loss, malnutrition and dehydration. In severe cases, it can lead to miscarriage and, rarely, it can be fatal.

I had HG during my third pregnancy. I lost 15 pounds, broke the blood vessels in my eyes from vomiting so much and had to take three months of sick leave. I often spent the day on the bathroom floor, too weak to get up.

“You know that sick feeling you have right before you throw up?” says Erin Rundquist, an Ottawa mother of three who lost 40 pounds in her first pregnancy due to HG. “Imagine that 24 hours a day for nine months. Throwing up 20 to 30 times was a good day.”

Gideon Koren, a paediatrician and pharmacologist, says that pregnant women who are throwing up or nauseated—especially those who can’t eat or drink—need to discuss treatment with their doctors or midwives. “People still believe any medication in pregnancy is not good for the fetus. This is simply not true,” Koren says. “Women are willing to suffer so their baby won’t. But if they suffer, the baby suffers, too.”

A woman can be diagnosed with HG by her doctor, who will be looking for rapid weight loss (1.5 pounds or more per week), recurrent ketosis (urine is positive for ketones) and frequent and/or severe nausea and vomiting. “Regular” morning sickness, on the other hand, has little to no weight loss or ketosis, and less frequent bouts of nausea/vomiting, but is still a treatable condition.

Koren and his team completed a study showing that early treatment lessens the severity of symptoms of HG, leading to healthier moms and babies. He says women should insist on proper medical treatment—too many health professionals dismiss the signs pointing to HG, or ask a woman to “wait and see” if symptoms resolve; this delay could start “a vicious metabolic cycle that is hard to get out of,” Koren says. If that sounds like your situation, seek out a second opinion. Treatment of HG often involves strong yet safe anti-vomiting drugs, as well as intravenous (IV) fluids if the mother is dehydrated. Very sick women may have a semi-permanent line placed in their arms for daily IV fluids and medication. Women with severe cases of HG are also fed intravenously.

Stay in touch

Subscribe to Today’s Parent’s daily newsletter for our best parenting news, tips, essays and recipes.





Source link

I tried lash extensions and a last lift and tint—here’s what happened
No Preview
I tried lash extensions and a last lift and tint—here’s what happened
How to teach your kids about philanthropy
The best gear, toys and games for kids
These are the baby names you’ll be seeing everywhere in 2023
Can you take melatonin while pregnant? We asked an expert
How to deal with constipation during pregnancy
When it’s not just morning sickness
We need to talk about postpartum psychosis
Do You Know The Muffin Man lyrics (and what the song is actually about)
There’s a new way to get a crying baby to sleep, and we’re intrigued
10 helpful tips for breastfeeding after returning to work
No Preview
Where I found a kids’ camera that’s worth the price
10 New books for kids of all ages
If your kid is obsessed with Disney, this may be the perfect gift
No Preview
11 kids’ books about residential schools in Canada
Canadian parents are being told they drink way too much and REALLY?!
No Preview
Is there a better cervical cancer screening option for Canadians?
No Preview
The truth about probiotics for kids
Opting for baby helmet therapy was the toughest decision of my life
Breastfeed baby hungry go sleep easily 6
NEWBORN BABY ESSENTIALS | BABY HAUL (PHILIPPINES) + TIPS 2021
IEP's – A Parent's Guide – Nicole Black
How Your Birth Order Affects Your Parenting – Kevin Leman and Sally Dunn